Is it possible to become an alcoholic just by having one or two drinks a night? I have a glass or two of wine with dinner, but I never drink to the point where I feel drunk. Should I be concerned?
An occasional beer or wine with dinner or an evening drink is not a health concern for most people. However, when drinking becomes a daily activity, it can be a progression of consumption and pose increased health risks. From your description of your drinking habits, it may be time to take a closer look at how much you drink.
Drinking alcohol in moderation is generally not a cause for concern. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking is considered to be in the moderate to low risk range for women at no more than three drinks in a day and no more than seven drinks in a week. For men it is at no more than four drinks a day and no more than 14 drinks a week.
These guidelines are based on standard-sized drinks that contain about 14 grams of pure alcohol. That means 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, 8 to 9 ounces of malt liquor and 1.5 ounces (one shot) of 80-proof spirits or "hard" liquor.
Nevertheless, it's easy to drink more than a standard drink in one glass. For example, many wine glasses hold much more than 5 ounces. You can easily drink 8 ounces of wine in one glass. If you drink two of these glasses during a meal, you will have about three standard drinks.
While not drinking until you're drunk is a common way to gauge how much you should drink, it can be inaccurate. Researchers studying alcohol abuse have found that people with a high tolerance for alcohol, who do not feel the effects of alcohol after having a few alcoholic drinks, are actually at a higher risk for alcohol-related problems.
It is also important to note that even if you do not feel the effects of alcohol, you still have the same amount of alcohol in your system as a person who becomes intoxicated after one or two drinks. Your lack of reaction to alcohol may be related to your body's increased tolerance to alcohol over time. Some people are born with a high tolerance; many people develop a tolerance through regular drinking.
Drinking more alcohol than recommended by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism puts you in the "risky" drinking category. This means you have a higher risk of negative consequences associated with alcohol use, including health and social problems. You are also at greater risk for alcohol dependence - learn more about an alcohol dependence diagnosis: https://osrodkiterapeutyczne.pl/porady/nkht/diagnoza-uzaleznienia.html
Alcohol can damage the organs of your body and lead to various health problems. For women, this damage occurs at lower doses of alcohol because their bodies have a lower water content than men. This is why the moderate alcohol consumption guidelines for men and women are so different.
The specific organ damage that occurs when too much alcohol is consumed varies greatly from person to person. The most common health effects include heart, liver and nerve damage, as well as memory problems and sexual dysfunction.
If you don't notice any particular negative consequences associated with your drinking, it's probably not necessary to quit drinking alcohol altogether. Nevertheless, I strongly encourage you to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink so that it falls within the guidelines for moderate drinking. Doing so may protect your health in the long run.